Thursday, September 20, 2012

The slippery slope

I've always liked being in nature, especially hiking, but I had no thoughts of bonsai as I came to Kyoto in March last year. Yet when I found a discounted book on the subject for sale at a café, I immediately snapped it up. It all happened pretty fast after that. The single item on my Christmas wishlist was more bonsai books and the following spring some switch was flipped and I got completely absorbed with trees, watching all the pines and cherries and oaks and zelkovas and...
I also joined a monthly study group hosted by the only bonsai nursery I know of in Kyoto, Koju-en. I just wish we would meet more often. I have gotten in touch with a well-known master in Tokyo, and he seems open to the idea of accepting an apprentice. I'm super excited about that, there is nothing I want more than to start training over there.

More recently, I learned that well known bonsai professional Peter Warren from the UK also started as a freshly graduated student who went to Japan for a short trip without a thought of bonsai, discovered bonsai, and went on to study as an apprentice for seven years. I am not the first to walk this path, and I'm sure I'm not the last.

I don't own any mature or styled trees at the moment, as the regulations on importing plants to Sweden are strict so I'm not sure I would be able to bring anything back. Outside the monthly meetings I've mostly been "getting a feel for it" by digging up small seedlings and nursing them to bigger plants, rooting cuttings and collecting and sowing seeds. I even tried a few air-layers in the forest. More on that soon.
If I could go back in time, I would have gotten a few trees from the start to play with, and then perhaps sold them at one of the auctions organized by the nursery if I decided it was impossible to bring them home.

What is your story? I would love to hear if anyone else had a similar start in their life as bonsaiists, or what it was that got You started.

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